The underlying problem is that it is not possible to challenge the way in which a local authority is caring for a child from outside the local authority. The Independent Reviewing Officer is an employee of the local authority and hence not independent. I proposed in my private members bill a system where the LA would be open to challenge. Unsurprisingly the Association of Childrens Services Directors opposed this. The government opposed the bill. The government believes in trusting local authorities implicitly in caring for children that they are responsible for. I do not.
This story in The Times confirms that local authorities have a tendency to be complacent about the care of children in local authority care. This was also clear in A and S v Lancs CC  EWHC 1689 (Fam).